Sullivan & Cromwell and Kirkland & Ellis were the top mergers and acquisitions (M&A) legal advisers in the global automotive sector in the first half (H1) of 2020 based on deal value and volume, respectively. Sullivan & Cromwell advised on two deals worth US$3.7bn, which was the highest among all advisers. Kirkland & Ellis led in volume terms having advised on five deals worth US$3.6bn, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kirkland & Ellis also occupied second position by value. Shearman & Sterling and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett jointly held third position having advised on one deal each worth US$3.3bn. Jones Day secured second position by volume with four deals (deal values were not disclosed), followed by Ropes & Gray with three deals worth US$2.3bn.

Aurojyoti Bose, Financial Deals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Kirkland & Ellis was the clear winner in volume terms. However, in terms of value, there was close competition between Sullivan & Cromwell and Kirkland & Ellis for the top position. Interestingly, both these firms also independently advised on the same US$3.3bn acquisition deal of Delphi Technologies by BorgWarner. However, Sullivan & Cromwell’s total deal value was higher than Kirkland & Ellis’ due to the firms involvement in Adient’s divestiture of 30% stake in Yanfeng Global Automotive Interior Systems for US$369m.”

The number of deals announced in the global automotive sector decreased by 1.8% from 272 in H1 2019 to 267 in H1 2020, according to GlobalData’s Financial Deals Database. Deal value also decreased by 37.6% from US$24.8bn in H1 2019 to US$15.5bn in H1 2020.

Sullivan & Cromwell, which topped the automotive sector deals league table by value, stood at sixth position (by value) in GlobalData’s released global league table of top 20 M&A legal advisers. Kirkland & Ellis, which topped the automotive sector league table by volume, also occupied the top position (by volume) in the global league table.